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Is BeReal safe? Everything you need to know

BeReal is a refreshing take on social media apps, but its unique format and default settings can easily expose you to dangerous or explicit content. Let’s take a deep dive into how BeReal works, what the risks are, and how you can protect yourself or your children from harm.

Is BeReal safe? Everything you need to know

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a popular new social media app that lets friends and family around the world share natural, unedited pictures of their daily lives — in other words, to “be real” with each other. In the age of influencer glut, fake glamor, and carefully manufactured images, BeReal wants to let people be people again.

Like with most social media platforms, BeReal access is limited to people aged 13 or above. While you can technically open a BeReal account on the behalf of your child if they’re below this age, we really recommend that you don’t — any social media platform, BeReal included, can expose vulnerable young people to a side of the internet they’re simply not ready to handle yet.

How does BeReal work?

The BeReal app gives users a daily opportunity to share a snapshot of their lives — no special prep, no filters, no editing. Here’s how the process works:

  1. At a random time once per day, the BeReal app lets you know that it’s “Time to BeReal” — in other words, it’s time to take your daily picture. Once you receive the notification, you only have a two minute window to set up.
  2. BeReal uses both the front and back camera of your phone — this way, you’re sharing not only a selfie, but also what you’re looking at in real life.
  3. No filters or edits allowed — not even do-overs are accepted. The BeReal app automatically marks any submission that’s not the first photo of the day.
  4. To encourage users to share content at the same time, the BeReal app only lets you see what other people have posted once you submit a photo of your own.
  5. You can react to your friends’ pictures using one of the six standard emojis available, or you can take a selfie and create a unique RealMoji to convey the mood. The BeReal app automatically stores any RealMojis you create for your future use.

What happens if you can’t get a photo op within two minutes (for example, if you’re in the middle of an important meeting)? Don’t worry — the BeReal app will still let you share your day and scroll through your friends’ content. However, it will mark your picture as a late submission to let other users know you didn’t make the two minute window.

What are the risks of BeReal?

BeReal risks don’t come from hackers — in fact, there are no records of BeReal suffering from a major data breach since its creation in 2020. Operating out of France, the company is also fully compliant with EU and French law, which means that BeReal users benefit from one of the most robust privacy protection regimes on the planet.

No — on BeReal, just like on all other social media apps, hell is other users. Here’s what you should be aware of when using BeReal’s services.

Lack of moderation

BeReal is very lax when it comes to moderating inappropriate submissions. In practice, it will only take action if enough users report a piece of content as offensive — unlike many other social media apps, BeReal itself will not actively seek out submissions that violate its policies. As a result, it may take days to remove content that features hate speech, nudity, or otherwise harmful behavior.

Social pressure

It’s nice to be real, but like any social media platform, BeReal can become addictive. Peer pressure and the fear of missing out may prompt vulnerable individuals to share without care, no matter where — including places where it’s not allowed or dangerous. For example, taking a selfie in a crowded bus intrudes into the privacy of the other passengers and may even lead to a confrontation.


Even if you want to be real, you should be careful of what you post on BeReal. Two minutes is not a lot of time to tidy up — and if you’re in a hurry to flash a smile, you might accidentally flash something you’re not as eager to share, like the state of your bedroom or your computer screen.

And it’s not just your data that’s at risk — since the BeReal app takes pictures with both your front and back camera, you can easily include unwilling individuals or their private surroundings in your BeReal post.

Location sharing

By default, BeReal uses your device’s geolocation feature to add your exact location to your submission. Because people in the same time zone receive their BeReal alerts at the same time, taking a snapshot can reveal your current location to everyone in your inner circle — including people you may not wish to contact at that particular time.

How to turn off location sharing on BeReal

Fortunately, you can avoid sharing your current location on BeReal by following these simple steps:

  1. Take your BeReal (or late BeReal) picture, but don’t post it yet.
  2. Tap the location icon at the bottom of your screen to open the menu.
  3. In “Location settings,” tap “Location off” to remove this information from your post.

Is BeReal safe for kids?

BeReal is safe for children ages 13 and up — but like any other social media app, BeReal may expose kids to content or people that you do not approve of. To prepare them for the challenges ahead, we highly recommend reading our detailed parent’s guide to internet safety for kids and explaining the most common social media privacy issues to your children.

Tips to stay safe on BeReal

Staying safe on BeReal is as simple as following proper cyber hygiene. Here’s what you can do to be safe without compromising your ability to be real:

  • Limit what you share. Think first, and only then snap the photo. What’s in the background? Will your photo reveal something that you’d rather keep to yourself? Even changing the angle of your picture can go a long way to protect your privacy.
  • Report issues. No action will be taken unless enough users contact BeReal about a particular issue. Do your part — sanitize the community to make the BeReal app safe for everyone.
  • Educate your children. If you’re planning to let your child use BeReal, make sure they know the dos and don’ts of social media first. Show them the potential consequences of sharing photos with strangers and explain why they should only add friends they trust to their inner circle on the BeReal app.
  • Don’t share your location. Telling the world where you are right now may lead to surprise encounters with nearby acquaintances — but not all surprises are fun. Protect your privacy by turning off location sharing when you post.
  • Limit who can see your posts. When you take a picture with the BeReal app, you can tap the “Audience” option to change who can see it. Choosing “Friends only” goes a long way to keeping BeReal safe for you — after all, you can hardly curate your friends’ friends, much less so the global BeReal community!
  • Protect your account. BeReal hasn’t suffered a data breach yet — but like other social media platforms, this fun little photo sharing app is a potential target for data-hungry hackers. Take steps to protect yourself by following our tips to keep social media accounts safe.
  • Ask BeReal to delete your data. BeReal collects certain information about users to provide its services. This data includes potentially sensitive information like photo timestamps and your IP address. If you’re worried about data breaches, you can contact BeReal by email and ask them to delete the information they have on you.